Trump’s Tariffs, not Immigration, May Lead to Lost U.S. Jobs

President Donald Trump ran his 2016 election campaign based in part on the idea that immigration and unfair trade practices cost American jobs. And he’s put that notion into practice.

As his administration executes policies for both immigration and trade, angering allies and rivals from Canada, Mexico and the EU to China, studies released in recent weeks highlight a contradiction in that strategy.

First, take trade. Tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the U.S. can help local producers of the metals by making foreign products more expensive. But they can also boost costs for U.S. manufacturers that can’t source all their needs locally and must import the materials. That costs more for those companies and can lead to higher consumer prices — and eventually job loss, economists say.

Steel and aluminum production jobs represent a small segment of the U.S. economy — about 255,000 jobs in steel and 61,000 in aluminum, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Yet steel and aluminum tariffs might lead to 400,000 lost jobs in the next one to three years.

A June 5 updated study from consulting firm The Trade Partnership also found the tariffs will hurt workers in all 50 states. Here’s how:

While the metal tariffs, quotas and retaliation would increase employment in the U.S. by 26,280 jobs in the metal industries themselves, net employment is forecast to sink by 432,747 jobs throughout the rest of the economy. That’s a net loss of 400,445 jobs.
U.S. GDP will sink by 0.2 percent annually as U.S. imports decline. That’s because U.S. exports will also fall.
Sixteen jobs may be lost for every U.S. steel or aluminum industry job gained. More than two-thirds of the lost jobs would be among production workers and those with low-skill positions.

Then, consider immigrants. Non-U.S. born workers account for about 14 percent of the U.S. population and 18 percent of the labor force, according to a National Foundation for American Policy study on immigration and jobs released in May. In 1970, less than 5 percent of the U.S. population was born outside the U.S., said the NFAP.

By Rachel Layne for CBS NEWS
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